Landscaping Issues + GPS Tracking.
I spent 2 years as a crew foreman for a landscaping company. Most of my job was to run a mowing and edging crew. I was young but a hard worker and kept the team on task. However, I saw plenty of room for a crew to slack off; especially if the crew went bad together and was determined to be unproductive and “milk the clock”. Of course, back then, the boss didn’t have access to a GPS tracking system or any way to track the team progress. He relied solely on the crew lead and could only spot check progress in person.
Over the last 9 years at Rhino Fleet Tracking, we have encountered numerous thefts of landscaping equipment. Thus, the tracking of zero turn mowers, small tractors, Bobcats and other landscaping equipment is a consistent part of our day. We’ve heard stories of zero turn mowers being stolen and recovered as well as large tractors and complete trailers of landscaping and mowing equipment.
Government Regulations and Labor Issues.
In most industries, these are a problem, but landscaping in the US has some special problems here. Our own landscaping crew that takes care of our office complex legally hires foreign workers from Mexico and must annually navigate the tricky process of legal visas and travel to keep his quality workers employed and continue to offer the same level of service each year. Add to these types of issues things like emissions standards and other challenges with using the small engines required to perform efficient landscaping, and you’re spending more time with the government than your customers or employees.
A Little Help. We cannot offer much help with the government. Sorry. That’s beyond our calling. However, we can help with labor issues and theft recovery using fleet tracking and equipment tracking devices and services.
Labor Savings Using Fleet Tracking
- Know how long your crew is at each job site
- I would guess that you know what it should take for a 4 man crew to mow, edge, and blow off each home or commercial property on every route you run. I did and I was relatively new to the industry. In most cases, we could cover an average sized yard on a regular schedule in less than 20 minutes. With fleet tracking services, you can place a landmark at each job and run a report for time spent at each location. Compare this to your expected time and quickly get your answers to a crew’s efficiency.
- Know how long your crew spends at stores and break locations
- By using landmarks at your billable job sites, you can quickly focus on non-billable locations and how much time your crews are spending at those types of locations. We have some companies that will create timesheets from the GPS tracking system, show those to the crews, and get their sign off for payment. Keeps everyone honest and improves productivity.
Theft Recovery with GPS Tracking Devices
- GPS tracking devices have come a long way in the last 20 years. Devices used to be huge and impossible to fit on smaller equipment. While devices still require some size, the overall size is minimal compared to the past and can be hidden very well.
- Also, the tracking devices now have extended battery lives to allow for multi-year operation without a need for external power sources and frequent battery changes or charges.
- Additionally, the newer tracker devices can give you location information even when a device is in a building. Thus, recovery is quicker and more likely.
Recovered Landscaping Trailer
About a year ago, a friend of one of our employees, who owns a landscaping crew, had his trailer full of landscaping equipment stolen. With the zero-turn mower, push mowers, weed eaters, blowers, and trailer costs, he was out over $22,000. For whatever reason, an insurance claim wasn’t an option for him. Our employee had already told him about our GPS tracking device options, but he had put that off. So, the new trailer and equipment were outfitted with battery-powered tracking device. A few weeks later, they were needed as his trailer was stolen again! This time, he gave us a call, our support technician helped him in his conversations with the police and the tracking devices and service were able to lead the police to his hideout. Funny enough, our customer’s first stolen trailer was in the same storage unit where the criminal planned to store this trailer and equipment!